Sunday, December 9, 2012

"How did we get here?" a guest post by Mike

The following is part of an ongoing guest post series titled Mondays with Mike.

"How did we get here?"

That was the question my wife and I were asking each other during the fall of 2008.  My heart was pounding as I was going through bill after bill, paying the minimums, and trying to get through to the next month.  During the previous six months we had moved from New York to Nevada and besides basking in the neon of the Las Vegas strip (which we really didn't do that often), we were swimming in an ocean of debt.

The problem with bad choices is that sometimes they work out.  The problem with them working out sometimes is that those are the only ones you remember.  It's kind of like gambling.  Do you ever hear anyone telling you they had a great time in Vegas when they lost $1500?  Of course not (unless they're a masochist); you only hear about the times that they've won.  Hopefully you understand where I'm going with this. 

Here are a few examples:

2001: Decided to put our honeymoon on a credit card - bad idea!
2003: Decided to buy a house with 3% down - bad idea that worked out.
2005: Bought(yeah right, financed) a car with 4WD, so Kate would be safe driving country roads to work- bad idea that we broke even on.
2001-2006: Put 20K on credit cards for dinners, gifts, work expenses, clothes, and general home needs - really bad and stupid idea!!
2006: We refinanced our house (because it was worth a bunch more) to pay off our credit card debt and do the smart thing of paying it off at a lower rate: Bad idea!! We didn't learn a thing and started charging again...
2006-2008: ran up another 25K in credit card debt and traded in (see 2005) for an upgraded vehicle.  I work in the auto business and during the fall of 08 the car market was in the toilet.  If you have the gumption, that is the time to buy.  We did (finance), and it worked out great, but that is only because I've worked in the business for just short of a decade and understood the cycles.  I would not recommend financing something (like a house or a car) on a hunch.

For those keeping score: 25K credit card debt, 15K car debt, oh, and just bought a house in really good housing market LAS VEGAS!!!

And that's when the crap hit the fan. You see, after our daughter was born in 2007 we calculated (correctly by the way) that it was cheaper for Kate, and better for our daughter, to stay home with our daughter than to pay for daycare,  and fuel our 4WD vehicle for an 85 mile daily commute. 

So, we were living on one irregular income, a mountain of debt on top of us, living in a new place with no family, and the auto business (which I work in) wasn't exactly humming along (see GM, and Chrysler bailouts/bankruptcies for reference). 

I was extremely scared for my family, my career, and for me personally.

Keep reading next week on what we decided to do about it...

What I Wore Sunday-- Volume 6

Linking up again with everyone in their Sunday best at Fine Linen and Purple.

I had to take the kids (ages 5, 2, &1) to church BY MYSELF this weekend TWICE.  I can't believe I survived.

Yesterday, the kids were very well behaved & well rewarded after mass with some yummy pancakes.  Today, their behavior almost resulted in a Mommy reward (like a stop at the liquor store), but I kept my cool (mostly), drank some coffee, and I'm finally feeling better.

I wish, wish, wish my husband had been with me this weekend because our church has the most beautiful display I have ever seen honoring Our Lady.  There is a HUGE Our Lady of Guadalupe print hanging, and it is surrounded by roses (floor to ceiling).  As we approached the altar yesterday (and came closer to the display honoring Our Lady), my two older kids and I were just speechless at how beautiful the display was.  It's that beautiful, and I promise to go back to church and snap some pictures of it to post later this week.  Stunning.

Onto my outfit.  I am attempting to winterize a summer dress by pairing it with tights, boots, and a cardigan.  It's getting chilly here.

You won't get any head on shots of me this week.  I'm not trying to be artsy.  My face is totally broken out, and I don't want any reminders of what my skin looked like this week.  Ugh.

The details:
sweater: Target
dress: Goodwill
boots: Nordstrom

Now go check out everyone else's outfits at Fine Linen and Purple!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

Joining Jen for another round of Seven Quick Takes.

I planned on doing a post about Advent this week but never got around to it.  We've been having a lot of fun.  Our oldest is 5-years-old, and she is VERY excited about Christmas.  We set up our Christmas houses, nativity set, Advent calendar, and Santa countdown so far. 
Our Advent calendar is pretty cool for the kiddos.  Each day, the kids open a door to reveal a piece to a magnetic nativity scene.
 The kids love it, and I think it's sweet that Griffin's godmother is the one who bought the calendar for the kids.
I cannot take credit for this next idea at all, but boy, oh boy, is it a great one for the littles.  Maura attends Kindergarten at our parish Catholic school, and I was thrilled when she came home last week with a homemade Advent calendar.  Yowza.  Here's a picture.
 Each day reveals an age appropriate service task to complete, and Maura is just as excited about learning what she needs to do each day as she is about discovering a new piece to the magnetic nativity and finding Bam Bam, our family's Elf on the Shelf.


Then, this week I read a guest post by Leanne of Life Happens When on A Knotted Life.  Leanne did a very similar craft (a paper link chain) with each link marked with an act of service with her 4-year-old son.  Leanne even generously lists a month's worth of age appropriate service ideas.  I'm bookmarking her post for next year.


We are an Elf on the Shelf family, and both Maura and Griffin having been having a lot of fun finding our elf each morning.  Maura & Bam Bam (our elf) have even been exchanging notes, which Maura loves.

Why, yes, Bam Bam is straddling our dusty chandelier.  I've been busy, okay?  And we're running out of hiding spots.


We haven't bought our tree yet.  Nor have we put up our lights.  But our neighbors across the street did.
I thought we left the bright lights of Las Vegas for a quiet suburb, but I guess I was wrong.

Let me tell you a few things about this light display.  Yes, that is a light up nativity scene.  I am totally jealous.  I've been looking for the old school, glowing lawn nativity for a few years now, but they are pricey. 
You should also know that the lights on the upstairs bedroom windows FLASH on and off ALL NIGHT LONG.
You should also know this is one of those houses that plays Christmas music outside ALL NIGHT LONG too.

Last night, Mike woke up with genuine concern about the flashing lights in our bedroom.  I had to remind him that it was only our neighbors' lights (that they never turn off).  Our bedroom is kind of like when Kramer lived across the street from the glowing Kenny Rogers Chicken sign.

I suppose it could be worse.  We could live across the street from this guy.
Even Our Lady has been admiring the lights of part of a Christmas village in our daughter's room.

You should check out Cari's post about this too.

Now, go read everyone else's Quick Takes.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oh fudge.

On this year's Christmas cards, I wrote that our 2-year-old, Griffin, was becoming more verbal.  He is.  He is learning to say all sorts of things, like...

"door open"-- when anything opens-- a door, the refrigerator, his diaper, etc.
"milk"-- an all purpose word to describe any & all liquids (including milk, water, juice, a pond, the ocean, rain, etc.)
"Mommo"-- mommy
"let's roll"-- indicates a desire to go somewhere
"beautiful princess"-- a descriptive term reserved for females wearing anything that resembles a dress (including skirts, long coats, an apron, a nightgown, a tunic, and princess dresses, of course)

You get the idea.

However, some of Griff's new words have us trying to shut him up at all costs.  Did I mention that he is the LOUDEST kid ever?  No volume control.

Case #1:
It being the Christmas season (OK- Advent), we keep seeing a lot of nativity scenes on people's lawns, the store, etc. which results in Griffin yelling "Jesus!" as loud as he possibly can over and over and over again.  Slightly embarrassing.  He also does this at church, which is equally embarrassing.

Case #2:
The other day, Grif said something (while I was changing his diaper) that ended with the letters "ock."  I was really taken aback (because he said it a few times) & even spoke to Mike about it, asking him, "You didn't say (the word in question) in front of Griffin, did you?"  Of course, Mike hadn't.  I knew Griffin was trying to say something else (but couldn't figure out what) until I remembered Grif's favorite part of his favorite movie-- Elmo's Potty Time (which he watches daily).

Go ahead & watch.

Did you catch that?  Some of the kids call their poop "ca ca."  I'm guessing that's what Griffin was trying to say when I took off the diaper.  He just left off that last (and oh, so essential) short A sound.  Phew!

Case #3:
I was putting Griffin to bed last night.  We went into the bathroom to brush his teeth, and he tripped over the step stool in front of the sink.  I almost died when he said, "Oh sh*t."

I mean, come on.  He was using the correct context & everything.  Suddenly, my body got really hot as I tried to remember if I had said the obscenity in question recently, and I was pretty sure I had.

So, my 2-year-old was swearing, and I was surely the worst. mom. ever.

Then, when we went into his room, he stepped on a toy and said, "Oh sh*t," again.  Except this time he kept saying it while holding his foot, and I realized he was saying "Ouch," (with more of a -sh ending than a -ch ending).  But, yay, I was off the hook!!!!

Here is a video of him saying "Owsh," while simultaneously running around me in circles.

"Owsh" from Kate on Vimeo.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Quid pro quo Joe's (a guest post by Mike)

Hey gang!  For those of you who have been reading for a while, you may remember that a few months ago, I asked my husband, Mike, to start writing on my blog on Mondays.  You can read his first and only post here.  Unfortunately, we got busy.  Life happened, right?  Anyway, Mike is going to try his best to post on Mondays again, and I'm going to call his posts-- you guessed it-- Mondays with Mike.  So, if the men in your life are looking for another male Catholic blogger to read, forward them Mike's posts.  I'm going to try to get him on Twitter, so he can start interacting with #Cathmen.

So, heeeeere's Mike---

In order to thank Kate for putting up with my career over the last few months, I scheduled a hair and facial appointment for her today.  It took me the last two months to work it into the budget and save for it, but today was her day.  After she returned, we talked about how her vehicle needed service, and we needed a few things from the store.  So now it was my turn to have a little “me time."  Here I am, driving a Yukon XL, with a Guinness hat on, listening to lithium (XM34), and going to get the oil changed.  The shop was less than 5 minutes from our house, and they provide great service, so I was in and out.

Onward to Trader Joe’s:  I love that store, but I always feel like I’m surrounded by a bunch of people to put this delicately…let’s just say, I don’t feel they have the same “values” as our family does.  Did I mention that we have a “CHOOSE LIFE” license plate frame, a John Paul II one decade rosary hanging from the mirror, and a magnet for the Catholic school our daughter goes to on the back of the Yukon?  No? 

So here I am, listening to Sublime, driving my gas guzzler (although it is 75 people miles per gallon currently; and I can give you the math later if you want), wearing my Guinness hat, empty car seats behind me, looking like a Catholic billboard and going into the hippieland parking lot.  My only saving grace was some nerdy glasses which Kate likes and is reminiscent of something you would find in the Obama campaign office. 
Yep, those are the ones...

And then it happened, the fear set in that I was being watched.  Remember, we live in California, which in case you didn’t know isn’t exactly a pro-life state.  That kid collecting the shopping carts certainly couldn’t be pro-life.  After all, he was a teenager.  That old guy driving the van behind me might be, but he’s probably lived in Cali too long and has been corrupted.  I knew I was sunk and would surely get some looks.  Of course I didn’t care, said a Hail Mary, realized I had judged, and went to purchase the few items we needed.

As always, the employees were extremely helpful (the pesto was under the hummus, and I couldn’t see it), and I made my way to the checkout.  The checkout girl couldn’t have been any more than 21 years old.  She asked very politely if the family had any plans for the weekend.  I said we were probably going to the Christmas tree lighting.  Upon saying "Christmas" I felt a wave hit in my stomach and was ready to be martyred for being so insensitive. 

Instead, she asked, "How many children do you have?"
"We have 3," I replied.

"Really, wow, what are their ages?"
"5, 2, and 1.  They’re pretty young, but we love it," I said, trying my best to be confident. 

"Well, you know you need to have a fourth, right?" 
 I’m sure I looked like this:
She continued, “Yeah, each one needs a buddy for amusement parks, to look after each other, and you need even teams.” 

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I felt so good afterwards.  When you think the worst of people, and make silly judgments, God has a great way of smacking you straight. 
"Judge not dummy!  I made them too."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What I Wore Sunday-- Volume 5 (the I got caught in the rain edition!)

Hey gang!  Joining all the fine looking ladies (& men?) over at Fine Linen and Purple
for another edition of What I Wore Sunday.

So-- did you hear the news that Jen Fulwiler wrote a great piece on the What I Wore Sunday series over at National Catholic Register?  You can read her post here.  I have to say that I agree with Jen, planning my outfits for Sundays has helped me to be more prayerful and focused during mass.  And, I'm not wearing jeans as much, which I think is good modelling for the kiddos. Unfortunately, her post also generated some negative comments about the link up.  Some commenters felt participants were putting on a fashion show (which is not the participants' intentions at all).  I mean-- did you see my Sarah Palin look-a-like outfit last week?  Ms. Palin is a beautiful woman, but I don't want people confusing me with her at Sunday mass.  Now, that would be a distraction.  You betcha.

But seriously, I would say this link up is about a few things.  First (and most importantly), as Catholics we believe in the Real Presence, so we are dressing with the intention to see God.  Secondly, we are showing others how women can dress both beautifully and modestly.  Third, we are all are trying to stretch a dollar.  I get so many great ideas from other women each week on how to shop my own closet, which I'm grateful for.  I think my Sunday default outfit before this link up was jeans and a nice sweater, but the other ladies in this link up have taught me to be more confident about my dressier clothes by teaching me how to wear them.  So, thank you ladies.

So, without further ado, here is my "I got caught in the rain outfit." Seriously, the rain is coming down so hard, Mike is considering building an ark.


The details:
red coat: GAP (10 years ago)
grey dress: Goodwill (tag says it's from Target)
pretty brooch: birthday gift from Mike's grandma
boots: Nordstrom (yes, I wear them every day)

Now go check out everyone else's outfits & have a great Sunday!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Seven Quick Takes-- an interview with myself

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 198)

Joining Jen again for another installment of Seven Quick Takes.

If you're not a regular reader, I need to preface the following post with a little background.  Yesterday, I decided to share my blog with my friends and family on Facebook which is kind of a big deal for me.  You can read yesterday's post here.

The following is a little Q and A that I intended to include with yesterday's post but later decided to turn into another post.  These are questions I'm guessing many of my friends and family would like to ask me, but maybe they are too polite.  Since I'm the type that just can't function with an elephant in the room, I need to address these questions, so I can move on to bigger and better blog posts about the Elf on the Shelf, the Oakland Zoo, and my husband's hair.

So, without further ado, here is a little Q and A with myself (or what I suspect are seven questions friends and family would like to ask me)--


Q: Why did you decide to name your blog the "The Imperfect Catholic?"

A: Actually, my original title was "The Imperfect Catholic: My Quest for Sainthood." 

I'm still not sure if I like my title or not. Maybe you can help me decide if I should keep it or change it.  I definitely feel it's an accurate description of myself and the faith journey I'm on.  I think the title is relatable, and it's the number one way people stumble upon my blog.  I think there are a lot of Catholics out there who feel like they just can't measure up, and they are looking for answers.  I guess one of the problems with my title is I don't think I'm qualified to give any answers.  I just concentrate on what's in front of me.  Another reason, I'm not sure about my title is I'm afraid it excludes non Catholics from being interested in my blog.  I'd love to have a more inclusive title, but nothing else feels right.  Any ideas?

Right now, I'm following the advice I gave students when I taught creative writing, "Just write. Don't worry about the end product. You can always go back and edit, delete, rework later. Just write." You can read a little more about why I chose the title here.


Q: So, do you only blog about religious stuff?

A: No. I blog about life with the kids too. You can watch a video of Maura on the monkey bars & pictures from a recent hike here. You can read about life with Griffin here (my favorite post-- please listen to Barry while reading). You can read about Paul here.

I usually only have time to post 2x per week here. It's all I can manage with 3 small children, but I write every day. Sometimes that writing turns into a published post. Sometimes it doesn't.

Things I'd like to write about:
-- Mike
--Mike & specifically his wealth of hair. Just trust me on this one.
--memories of growing up (those stories are only fun if my friends/family read my blog-- pretty, please?)
--how parenting is like college
--circles of parenting Hell-- what Dante left out
--favorite songs-- what's best for karaoke? gangsta rap? best for girlie dance parties?  I own this one.
--the Oakland Zoo-- that place is awesome but totally whack
--my freaky experience with an abortion doc after moving to SF.  Trust me, it was crazy, and I'd really like to blur the lines between fact & fiction with that one because it was C-R-A-Z-Y.  Maybe a short story?
--why I will probably never wear a mantilla, but why I may start kneeling to receive the Eucharist (someday)
--why I'll probably always feel okay about wearing jeans to mass (just not every week)
--signs that I would always become a Catholic blogger

I'd love it if you would leave me a comment & tell me what you'd like to hear about.


Q: So, Kate, are you guys, like super religious now?

A: We're practicing Catholics.   And by practicing, I mean we practice our faith every day (not just Sundays); that was a life changer for us.  Does that mean we're super religious? I think that's a matter of opinion/perception.


Q: So...I hear you guys use NFP. How many kids are you planning on having?

A: Seriously, only God knows. If Mike & I learned anything about trying to have kids, it's that it never goes according to plan (at least for us). We lost our first two babies through miscarriage, then couldn't get pregnant (so we started reading about NFP & charting-- I'd say we were starting our NFP journey then), then Maura, then didn't get pregnant again (even though we started trying when she was only 9 months old), then we postponed when we moved to Vegas (as we worked on our marriage-- a tough time), got pregnant very easily with Griffin, started officially using NFP 100%, then Paul, currently postponing because I'm having some medical issues and life is...well...crazy...but, yes, I think we will have more children (if we're able to). We're open to it. We'll see what happens. Stay tuned.


Q: Do you still drink?

A: Every night.


Q: Do you still swear and do "normal stuff"?  (I think people want to know if practicing Catholics are flawed and if they have other interests or if it's all Jesus, all the time).

A: Yes, we still have the same flaws and interests that we had before going back to the church.  In terms of swearing, we're kind of like Old School (the movie) over here. Maura is too old for "earmuffs," so we usually turn the radio down when our favorite rap song starts cursing, and I try to use my old "teacher swears" in front of the kids like, "Oh gosh!", "Holy crow!", or Mike's least favorite "Bananas!", which I turn into "banana hammock" when it's just the two of us which grosses him out.  Get used to it Mike-- we live in San Francisco.

So, I guess our life is kind of like when you're favorite R-rated comedy is edited for television.  I think that is more of a result of being parents than of being Catholic though. 


Q: I noticed you post pictures of your outfit every Sunday. What's up with that?

A: I participate in a Catholic fashion link up on Sundays over at Fine Linen and Purple. You can read an article about it here. It's just something lighthearted that I like to do with my Catholic e-friends. Do you have a blog? Join the fun!

Do you have other questions? E-mail me or leave a comment.  Thanks for reading!

And because you've been such a good sport, watch this video of a man interviewing his 12-year-old self.  It's flippin' awesome.

Now go read all the other Quick Takes.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My interior life-- Independent George v. Holden Caulfield

Most of you already know I'm obsessed with Seinfeld.  Big fan.

Most of you already know I used to blog (& post my updates on Facebook) for all my friends & family to see.  Then, I stopped.  Why?

Well, I think my fictional friend, George, can explain it better than I can.  Here he is expressing his fears and frustrations about his worlds colliding-- when his girlfriend and his friends interact.

And I guess that's what I felt like when I hit publish with my blog originally.  My worlds started to collide.  So I took a breather.

And after some time off, I decided I missed blogging, so I started again.  I blogged about a lot of things--  the kids, religious stuff, culture of life stuff, silly things, etc.  You get the picture.  So I kept blogging & blogging, and after a while I started to miss sharing my posts.  I'd write something and think, Kelly would laugh at this, or, Amy would love this one.

But, for some reason, I still couldn't hit that share button on Facebook.  So, I started thinking, and thinking, like I always do.  And I started thinking, maybe I'm not worried about my worlds colliding.  Maybe I'm not George Costanza.  Maybe I'm Holden Caulfield.  Maybe I'm afraid of being called a "phony."

So, I mulled that over for a week or two, and then I remembered a paper I wrote in high school about Holden Caulfield.  So, I re-read it-- my research paper on The Catcher in the Rye from 17 years ago.  Half a lifetime ago.  Sister Mary Catherine was my English teacher back then.  Ah, the memories.  Did I mention I got a 100% for content?  No joke.  I am so proud of my 17-year-old self.

Basically, I argued that Holden was not crazy (as so many literary critics labelled him).  Instead, I described him as unique and double-minded (open minded?), "enraptured" with authenticity and sincerity.  Yes, I'm really quoting my 17-year-old self.  Holden kind of saw the world as black and white; he was a person of extremes.  If anything or anyone contradicted, he would label them as "phony," which, according to the literary critic I cited in my paper, "indicates a contemptuous condescension toward the failure of his society to measure up to his expectations" (French).  So there it is gang-- Holden's tragic flaw.  His standards and expectations were impossibly high, and the world could never live up to his standards.  In fact, I'd argue that Holden himself couldn't live up to his own standards.  Having high standards didn't make Holden crazy; it made him sad.  For real.  At the end of the novel, he begrudgingly accepted that the world would never be perfect, and remained resentful.  In my paper, I actually called Holden a "hater."  Who knew that my slang would become a part of pop culture years later?  What a trend setter, I am.

So, long story short, I realized reading my old paper that, like Holden, my own impossible standards are holding me back.  I will never be perfect, nor will the world.  My blog will never be perfect.  Some readers will love my posts; others will hate them.  That's life.

So, friends, if you've never been here before (or if you haven't been here in a long time), welcome (back) to my blog.  I am so happy to have you here.  If you're one of the Catholic e-friends I've made along the way, thank you.  I hope I don't lose you here.  And if you're one of the people who have continued reading since the beginning (on the sly), thank you for giving me time to figure out what this blog is (I'm getting there; it's still evolving), and thank you for your discretion.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hiking at Twilight (sort of) pictures

Thanksgiving was grand. But Friday, we didn't do much. Mike worked a half day in the morning, and by the time he got home, the boys were already napping. He took Maura to the park where she amazed him with her mad, monkey bar skills. That girl takes after Mommo.

And when the boys woke up, we just kind of hung out.  Then, Mike had the genius idea to take a short hike up the hill behind our neighborhood, but it was getting kind of dark and a little chilly.  I had my doubts, but the hike was beautiful-- just one of those perfect nights.  I'll let the pictures I took speak for themselves. 



I'm not sure if I love these photos because they came out well or if it's because I love the people in the photos or if it's because I have such a fond memory of this night.  Whatever the true answer, it was one of those nights when the ordinary became just a little extraordinary.  Love those moments.
Have a great week everybody!

What I Wore Sunday-- Volume 4

I'm linking up again with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for their What I Wore Sunday series.

Old workwear.  Ugh.  We all have it, and I will readily admit that I have no idea how to wear it now that I'm no longer teaching.

Looking to the side to avoid the dreaded glasses glare.
These black pants are actually really nice.  They are part of the only suit I own that I bought from Banana Republic about 6-7 years ago.  So why don't I wear these pants more often?  The suit they are from is my job interview/winter funeral suit, which means every time I wear these pants, I think, these are the pants I wore to the interview for that job I didn't get, or I think, these are the pants we buried Aunt Martha in.

Additionally, I have no idea how to wear black work trousers without looking like I'm going to work, which is why I left my shirt untucked (but now I see that it just looks sloppy). I have Googled "what to wear with black trousers" and the only decent post I found was this one from Ain't No Mom Jeans.  I need more ideas, so leave me suggestions.

The shirt I'm wearing is pretty awesome though, and I'm sad it doesn't look awesome here.  It's a light grey flannel shirt from J.Crew that I bought a few years ago.  It's one of their "perfect shirts."  I love, love, love this shirt.  It looks great with yoga pants & ballet flats.  It looks great with jeans.  It's warm but thin, and it's perfect for layering.  I usually pair it with a red scarf for a pop color, but I chose to wear my former workwear/bridesmaid pearls in lieu of the red scarf because I wore a red jacket instead.

Sadly, now that I see myself photographed in this red jacket, black trousers, and glasses, I'm positive that I look eerily similar to Sarah Palin.
So since my outfit was a fail, let's look at a better one.  Here's what my daughter wore today.
The details:
sweater: GAP Kids (gift)
leggings: GAP Kids
sparkly shoes: Target
Now go check out better outfits at Fine Linen and Purple.

Friday, November 23, 2012


I'm linking up with the always entertaining Grace Patton today for What I Wore to Thanksgiving Dinner.

So, did you have a good Turkey Day? Did you? Did you?

Ours was fun. For the first time in 5 years, we celebrated with family-- yes!

In case you don't know, my husband has one of those fun corporate jobs that requires us to move every few years which means we're always in the process of making new friends (& then leaving them) & are never near family. But... with our latest move to the San Francisco area, we found ourselves close to my cousin! Yes!

So, my cousin & his girlfriend came over for dinner which meant our house was 4/7ths redheads (or 57% redhead, for those of you who prefer percentages) which is both awesome and a statistical anomaly. Why didn't I take a photo of all of us in our redheaded glory? I don't know. I guess I was too busy stuffing my face with the Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes & drinking too much wine.

Our guests were most gracious. They didn't mind putting together the kids' dinosaur puzzle a million times, nor were they bothered by Griffin's announcement of "DOODY!" (or is it spelled "DOOTY!") during dinner.  Or Griffin lovingly using my shirt as a tissue after dinner (TO THEIR HORROR, "What are you wiping on your mommy's shirt?!?!"). Nor were they offended by Grif feeding the delicious Ghiradelli chocolates they brought for dessert to our dog. And my cousin didn't seem phased at all by Maura using him as a human jungle gym. Good times.

Because they were such good sports, we treated them to a special viewing of Elmo's Potty Time before we put the kids to bed. I am sure we scarred them for life, or at the very least, convinced them never to have children. 

So, let's get the What I Wore party started--

Here I am with my daughter in matching outfits. Yes, I know matching outfits are lame, but I love them. & Maura thinks they are fun. So, who cares? 

The details:
ruffled t--shirt: J.Crew (same as a few weeks ago)
denim skirt: Old Navy
boots: Nordstrom (same as last week)
ruffled t-shirt: GAP kids (via E-Bay)
pleated denim skirt: GAP kids
tights: Janie & Jack (hand me downs)
glitter shoes: Kohl's (don't tell anyone they aren't Toms)
Here I am in one of my aprons. I am a big fan of aprons. And I highly suggest you buy one if you haven't already.  This one is from Target, but you can find even cuter ones on sites like Shabby Apple or etsy.  I am obsessed, and yes, before you ask, Maura and I have matching aprons too.  Don't hate.

Here's Mike in his man apron-- mapron? He's getting ready to cut the cheese. Yes, I just went there.

I told him to make a funny face, and this is what he went with.  I don't know.
And here's our signature family dish (required at every Thanksgiving). Curried Cauliflower. It smells kind of icky & looks neon, but we loooove it. And the best part was when my cousin saw that I made it, he said, "This dish reminds me of your mom," and then helped himself to one two three helpings of the cheesy, creamy, curry deliciousness of curried cauliflower. It's an acquired taste, but we love it.

Here's the post Thanksgiving text I sent my cousin this morning.  Do you think he'll ever hang out with us again?  Fingers crossed.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  Leave me a comment, so we can be e-friends.  Chances are our brood will be moving to a city near you! 
And thanks again to Grace for hosting this link up.  Great idea.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What I Wore Sunday-- Número Tres

Fun weekend.

Last night, I met a girlfriend that I went to high school and college with in San Francisco for a quick tour of The Beat Museum, a visit to City Lights, and some Italian seafood in North Shore. What can I say?  I had a slight obsession with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy (be still my 16-year-old heart) in high school, and I was grateful that my friend was willing to indulge my teenage self with a trip to some San Francisco literary hot spots.  We were both English majors, so books & booze was how we did girls' night. Lots o' fun.

And before you call me hipster, here's proof that I'm not the only Catholic who thought berets and sunglasses were cool...

I love this poster.

Moving on.

Needless to say, I was dragging this morning when I got up, bright and early, for 8 o'clock mass. So, I put on a quick, comfy outfit.

Where's my coffee???

scarf-- Target
t-shirt-- Old Navy (years ago)
corduroy skirt-- GAP (years ago)
tights-- Target
boots-- Nordstrom
puffy eyes-- lack of sleep (Truthfully, the booze was minimal.  I'm waaay too responsible in my old age.  Neal Cassidy would never be interested in me, which is a good thing.)
Now go check out everyone else's outfits at Fine Linen and Purple.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the freedom of the third child

Paul will turn one-year-old this week, and I recently realized how little I've pushed him. It's been grand.

I was giving him his bottle (yes, still a bottle), and a grandmother (surprisingly) at a church playgroup asked me if Paul could feed himself/hold his own bottle. I almost shot her a look (stink eye to be more accurate). Couldn't she see how comfy & content this monstrous baby was snuggled in my arms? Couldn't she see I was glowing? But I restrained myself and calmly responded, "He could probably hold his bottle if I needed him to, but I really enjoy feeding him. He's my baby, you know?"

The grandma then told me all about how her daughter insisted that she give her grandson (who she watches) a sippy cup from as early as 6 months, and then she admitted that she found it a bit silly-- a little baby struggling to use a cup so early. When she said that, I knew we had some common ground.  I smiled & told her that both Maura & Griffin had given up their bottles by the time they were 10-11 months old. Then I smiled and said, "I haven't even tried giving Paul a cup yet." And added, "I think all of those "rules" for parenting & milestones are just guidelines anyway..." knowing I had no intention of introducing a cup anytime soon. The snuggling is that great. Call me selfish; the cup can wait.

A friend of mine on Facebook posted this status about her daughter approaching one year too--


Our kids are one month apart.

Reading her status made me think of how much I've enjoyed having Paul as part if our brood as well. The big kids (ages 2 & 5) have a blast with him. Griffin likes to gently wrestle with Paul; it's odd how Griffin understands he has to be gentle with his baby brother without my telling him. They are best buds.

 And Maura? Forget it-- she is everyone's favorite! She can make Paul laugh so hard-- big belly giggle laughs by just looking at him, but then again she makes us all laugh.  And she doesn't care if Paul pulls her hair or drools on her while I take their photo...


And all of this has me thinking about something my husband & I have discussed quite a bit-- the third baby is the first baby we really enjoyed because we weren't worried. With the first baby, we worried about pretty much everything-- the perfect temperature in her room, breast verses bottle, introducing solids exactly the way the baby books told us to, transitioning from bottle to cup before she turned a year. It was exhausting.  And with the second baby, I worried about dividing my time.  How could I possibly attend to everyone's needs when splitting my time between two kids?  The horror.  But, with the birth of sweet baby Paul, we were all finally free-- free of unrealistic expections, free of perfection, free to make mistakes, and free to enjoy each day as it came.

So, happy birthday sweet baby Paul!  It's been a great, eventful, and freeing year.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

What I Wore Sunday-- Part Deux

I'm joining in on the fun with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for their weekly link-up, What I Wore Sunday.

I noticed a few ladies wearing purple over the last few weeks which reminded me I had this purple wrap dress. 

I bought it last year for sweet baby Paul's baptism.  We've been referring to him as The Instigator lately though; his behavior at mass last week secured the title.

At the time that I purchased this dress, I loved that it was a wrap dress too-- perfect for nursing & my adjusting postpartum body.  However, I've haven't been wearing it a lot lately because of the wrap design.

wrap dress + wrestling two toddlers during mass = potential wardrobe malfunction

In hopes of avoiding this, I paired it with a cami & thick tights.  We're going to the evening mass tonight, so wish me luck.

Gemma wrap dress-- Banana Republic
(still available online in black & purple, or black in Women's tall, which is what I ordered.  I'm 5' 10", so I love that BR carries tall dresses.  Wait for a sale-- you should be able to get it at least 30% off or more if you buy an off season color.)
white cami-- my dresser
brown tights-- Target
brown boots-- my closet
silver & brown stone necklace-- handmade by Navajo Indians from when we lived in Nevada. 
 big hair-- a result of growing up in the 1990s.  Don't judge.
Go check out all the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

Joining Jen for another installment of Seven Quick Takes.

Is it Friday already?  Really?  Wow.  I have been neglecting my blog lately, and I apologize.  The kids are really keeping me busy, and I've been struggling with keeping the house clean.  I promise to try my best to blog for 30 minutes per day.  That way I should have a few new posts each week.  Pinky swear.
So many awesome things have happened lately!  I'm very happy to announce (as someone who just moved a few months ago) that I'm starting to make some new friends here.  Yay!  And...wait for it...they are Catholic!  Not a requirement, but definitely a bonus.

So, do you want to know where I met these new super cool friends? I'll give you one guess...


Yes, the cry room.

Griffin was acting up a little more than usual in the main church, so I told my husband I'd take him to the cry room before he could disturb anyone else. My husband decided to come with me with the rest of our brood. When we got to the cry room, there was one other family with three little kids-- ages 1, 2, & 3. And let's just say as hard as we tried to keep those kids reverent, the cry room was rockin'. Before we knew it, all six kids were dancing to Alleluia, kind of like this (except younger, of course)...

Catholic Awesomeness.


The fun continued...

When it was time for communion, we went into the main part of the church and approached the altar. The parents of the other family received communion without incident, and so did I until I tried to leave. Mike was holding baby Paul behind me, and Paul yanked my hair so hard (Jerry Springer style) that even the Deacon ministering communion had to compose himself because he could not stop laughing.

It went something like this...

And then the deacon was like...

Last, Sunday I participated in my first What I Wore Sunday post, and I really enjoyed it. I was really nervous about joining in on the fun because I don't know much about fashion, and I was shocked when I received a lot of compliments on my orange blazer.  Thank you.  It is a favorite of mine, and I have to tell you a secret.  I bought it 4 years ago.  Shhhh...don't tell anyone.  Now, I'm learning to "shop my closet" to find more outfits using the other ladies' outfits as inspiration.  You should get in on the fun if you haven't already.  Check out Fine Linen and Purple every Sunday for more details on the link up.

Speaking of fashion, can you ladies suggest some good blogs to read for outfit inspiration (especially for stay at home moms)?  I read a few, but I'd love some more links to check out.  Also, what's in for watches these days?  I've been wanting to buy a nice one for years, but I can never find one I like.  I was thinking gold because my mom has always worn a gold watch.  It seems classic and ladylike, but I'm open to other style suggestions.  Holler at me. 

Have you seen this video yet?  I can't stop watching it.  I especially love the woman on the right who is so full of love, life, and admiration for JP2 that she is acting like she's at a Beatles concert.  I also love the baby crawling part.  LOVE.


I mentioned that we moved a few months ago from the desert of Las Vegas to the humidity of the East Bay, and my hair hates me.  I can't style it at all.  It just keeps getting kinky because of the humidity, and the wind...don't get me started on the wind.
So I was psyched when my Anthropologie catalogue came (do you hate it when people spell catalog as catalogue?  Me too.  That's why I spelled it that way.  Just so I could tell everyone who spells catalog as catalogue to please stop spelling it that way.  Thanks.), and I saw that messy hair is in style.
Here is the evidence...

So I will be rocking my kinky 1990s grungy hair from here on out.
Have a great weekend & go visit Jen for more quick takes.




Sunday, November 4, 2012

What I Wore Sunday-- volume 1

I'm linking up with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for their link up series-- What I Wore Sunday.
I will readily admit that I am not a fashion conscious, girly girl at all.  The mere idea of going shopping for clothes makes me break into a sweat.  I'd always rather be wearing jeans & a t-shirt. 
However, I have really enjoyed reading everyone's fashion posts, and I noticed a few ladies wore jeans this week.  Their more casual ensembles were the motivation I needed to join in on the fun. 
So here I jeans and a fancy's a beginning, right?
orange corduroy jacket/blazer--  Ann Taylor Loft
fancy t-shirt-- J. Crew
trouser jeans-- Banana Republic
yellow belt-- Target
shoes (can't really see them, sorry)-- Moda Spana
To check out cute outfits that are not jeans and a t-shirt, go check out the other ladies' links!